kalamkari paintings

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KALAMKARI PAINTINGS

Kalamkariliterallymeans,Kalam-pen& kari-work,i.e.,artworkdoneusingapen. Vegetabledyesareusedtocolourthe designsappliedoncloth.

Theartofpaintingusingorganicdyeson clothwaspopularinseveralpartsofIndia, butthisstyleofKalamkariflourishedat Kalahasti(80milesnorthofChennai)and atMasulipatnam(200mileseastof Hyderabad).

TheKalamkaritraditionchieflyconsistsof scenesfromHindumythology.Figuresof deitieswithrichborderembellishments werecreatedforthetemples.In Masulipatnam,theweaverswereinvolved intheblockprintingart,whileatKalahasti, theBalojas(acasteinvolvedinmaking bangles)tooktothisart.

OwingtoMuslimruleinGolconda,the MasulipatnamKalamkariwasinfluencedby Persianmotifs&designs,widelyadaptedto suittheirtaste.Theoutlinesandmain featuresaredoneusinghandcarved blocks.Thefinerdetailsarelaterdone usingthepen.

UndertheBritishrulethedesignsaswell astheenduseofthefabricdiffered-for garmentsaswellasfurnishings.During thisperiodfloraldesignswerepopular.The artisansweremadetocreateevenportraits ofEnglishmen.

TheKalahastitraditionwhichdevelopedin thetempleregionmostlyconcentratedon themesformHindumythology,epics (Ramayana,Mahabharatha),imagesof Godsandheroes. Theartistsuseabambooordatepalmstick pointedatoneendwithabundleoffinehair attachedtothispointedendtoserveasthe brushorpen.

Thedyesareobtainedbyextractingcolours formpartsofplants-roots,leavesalong withmineralsaltsofiron,tin,copper,alum, etc.,whichareusedasmordants.

KarrupurisastyleofKalamkarithat developedintheThanjavurregionduring theMaratharule.TheKalamkariworkwas afurtherembellishmenttothegoldbrocade workinthewovenfabric,whichwasused assarees&dhotisbytheroyalfamily duringtheperiodofRajaSarfojiandlater RajaShivaji.

AfterindependenceofIndia,theHandicrafts DevelopmentBoardtookupthetaskofreviving thisart,whichhaddwindledduetolackof buyers. Thespecialtyisthatthefinishedproductsare mellow.Brightcoloursareusedbutthefinishis notgaudy.Thefabriclooksbetterandbetterwith furtherwashing,withthedesignsstandingout evenbetteragainstthebackground.

Masulipatnam style of Kalamkari:features Persianinfluencewithintricateanddelicateforms andmotifscommonlyusedweretrees,flowers, creepersandleafdesigns.WiththeDutch influence,kalamkariartwasstartedonbed covers,curtainsandgarments. Mostoftheindoorhomedcoritemsareusually placedaccordingtocolourschemesandeven themessuchasanimaltheme,naturetheme, floraltheme,spiritualitytheme,etc.

Srikalahasti Style of Kalamkari: thisstyleofkalamkaripaintingisinfluenced byIndiantemples.Scrollsandwall hangingswithnarrativesandfigurinesfrom epicssuchasMahabharata,Ramayana, Puranas,etc.deitiessuchasKrishna, Brahma,Ganesha,Durga, Kiratavinyaarjuna,Lakshmi,Rama,Shiva andParvathiwerethemainsubjects.

Technique: Thekalamkarigoesthrougha vigorousprocessofresistdyeingand handprinting.Kalamkaripaintinggoes throughalotoftreatmentbeforeandafter thepaintingisdoneonthefabric.The colourschangedependingonthetreatment ofclothandqualityofthemordant.

Everystepintheprocessispainstakingly doneandwithperfection.Kalamkari paintingshaveaflourishingmarketinand outsideofIndia.Thekalamkariartforsale isavailableinleadingexhibitionsthat showcaseandpromoteIndianhandicrafts.